Day 1, attended the keynote with Steve Ballmer, Scott Guthrie and Bub Muglia, among others.
Steve was loud and bouncy as usual! The man does not need a microphone. Amazing energy! He didn’t do Developers, Developers, Developers, but he did joke about it. He did have a new one though…”People ask us [about the WinPhone 7] well what about if bladitibladitibla…[yes, he said that] what will you do then? I’ll tell you what we’ll do then…BOOM! Baby! That’s what we’ll do!”, he says, making an explosive jab with his elbow and forearm…this one will go down in history! Just search for “Boom Baby!”.
The big excitement is that all the attendees are getting Windows Phones. Thanks Microsoft! They also give you a free developer account on the Marketplace, a $99 value. They have Samsung and LG models, you don’t get to choose. I got an LG. It comes with a Vodaphone logo on the box, and preconfigured to connect to Vodaphone in Germany…but there is no SIM card included. It is carrier unlocked, so I guess you go get your own SIM card.
The venue is packed, by the way. It is in the Microsoft Conference Center, building 33 on the Campus. The Keynote room was the smallest I have ever seen, it is a very 'cozy’ setting.
The other announcements so far have been tons of great additions to Azure. There are new Roles, including a VM Role, where you can configure a Hyper V machine and have it deployed to the cloud. There is also support for installing things locally on you cloud machine the first time the role runs, with admin privileges. And…drum roll….you can now Remote Desktop into your instances! Wow! I have missed that sorely. The machines now have full IIS 7 support, you can open up the IIS Manager once remoted in and it looks just like a local Windows IIS installation.
I saw a preview of the new Silverlight based version of the Azure portal, a huge improvement. It provides way more detailed views of what is going on in the cloud.
There was a lot of talk about IE 9 and HTML 5, but it was a little old, nothing really new to report.
Project Codename Dallas is now live! It is called the Data Market, very cool!
There will soon be Microsoft Reporting Services for Windows Azure, saw a very nice demo with Don Box.
TFS in the cloud! Wow! You sign up online, it creates an instance in 20 seconds, and off you go. Integrates with Visual Studio and works just like it were a local server. It can even do Continuous Integration builds in the cloud when you check in. Awesome. A lot of shops that don’t want to deal with setting up and managing TFS will love this.
There are some great improvements to integrated security, you can use OAuth, Active Directory, Facebook, Windows Live, Yahoo etc with your services in the cloud.
Also, now you can get OUT from the cloud, your services can open sockets connections from inside Azure to your corporate servers.
There are going to be some excellent profiling tools for Silverlight that integrate with Visual Studio. It deploys an instrumented build and shows CPU and GPU metrics, in multiple levels of detail, with helpful color coding highlighting where there are issues.
Next, listened to a great WinPhone and Azure session by Steve Marx. His session pretty much covered everything our Event Board app does: Azure, Web Roles, Worker Roles, BLOB Storage, Push Notifications, etc. Didn’t really learn anything new, it was a very good talk. Oh, and the sync framework 4.0 is coming out in CTP, RTM next year, it will allow all kinds of clients (Silverlight, Phone, WPF, etc) synchronize data with SQL Server and SQL Azure.
Had lunch and met Steve Teixeira at the Parallel FX meet the experts table, good to see him!
Now I am listening to a talk on “What I wished I knew three months ago about Windows Phone development”. He is demoing Facebook for Windows Phone and Twitter, explaining design principles. Running into the now classic connectivity issues at phone demos…fail Same with the Twitter demo, fell flat with no wireless. When will they learn? Oh well.
After the failed demos, the content is improving. A lot of good information on thinking about design tradeoffs. The Soft Input Panel (SIP), the Application Bar, Themes (he has a blog with a Theme (Dark or Light) aware Resource Dictionary class, will need to check that out for Event Board). Some other good tips: use Binary Serialization rather than the easier to use DataContractSerializer, it is ten times as fast. When reloading serialized data from Isolated Storage it really slows down the application starting and after being tombstoned, if it has to parse XML And they recommend not doing any DataContext setting or binding until after your page loading animation is complete (complicates Design Time data, for sure!).
OK, new session, performance optimization for Windows Phone 7 development! Here is something funny,,,they guy from the talk at Tech Ed where I won my Windows Phone by shouting out “five” at the right moment, is here, doing half the talk! I now have two Windows Phones, neither is the one I won in June…
OK, some great tips in this talk. David Anson has an attached property that delay downloads Images when binding. Also showed virtualized listboxes and loading data with ObservableCollections. Make sure when you have used Blend that the default VirtualizedStackPanel is not replaced in the List ControlTemplate! Happens by default.
I have my new LG registered as a development phone now, had to unregister the old one, you can only have three per developer account. Installed Event Board from the Market Place, and it works well. Phew! Oops! The PDC OData feed is down..
Bumped into Peter Kellner from Silicon Valley Code Camp….it’s a small world!
The evening ended with a traditional Microsoft geek party…they rented a bowling alley in downtown Bellevue, with free gaming, drinks and pizza.